Sir Vince Cable has stated that the UK Government does not have a “very strong hand” in the negotiations with the EU. That is a surprise. Serious observers identified that scenario in the months before No10 activated Article 50.

As a supplicant, soon-to-be ex EU member, trying to get a deal, all the EU needs to say is Non! Just as General De Gaulle did to Harold MacMillan in the early 1960’s.

The four freedoms within the EU are its raison d’être for the Single Market and Customs Union. That is the best deal.

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All the diving and ducking, name calling and slurs hurled at Michel Barnier, European chief negotiator for Brexit, and his team by the Westminster side do reveal the silent “skrik” or panic, as depicted in Edvard Munch’s painting, that is beginning to form within the UK Government as post-Brexit reality dawns.

As the devolved governments in Scotland and Wales have now indicated, they will oppose the Brexit Bill. Where does that leave the opposition parties at Holyrood and Willie Rennie in particular? He has been shtum lately Is he trying to catch up, like Sir Vince, or is he simply waiting for direction from head office?

Where do the UK branch parties at Holyrood stand on the issue of opposing the projected power grab by Theresa May’s minority regime? Or do they just sit and accept anything from the powers that be in their precious Union?

One suspects the “branch parties” are reluctant to stand up for Holyrood because the SNP is in government. They were the most reluctant at offering real powers during the Smith commission charade and sat back at Westminster when the English blocked real powers.

It is ironic that the SNP in Edinburgh and Welsh Labour in Cardiff are making common cause with joint statements and actions to preserve and promote the power and status of their respective legislatures.

Where stand the “branches” at Holyrood on this issue?

John Edgar,

4 Merrygreen Place,

Stewarton.

There will be many who find the chutzpah of Tony Blair verging on the remarkable when they read of his present thoughts on immigration and compare them with his record in office as Prime Minister (“Ex-Prime Minister urges leaders to consider better ways to curb EU migration”, The Herald, September 11).

Let us consider a number of measures intended to be implemented when he was Prime Minister.

The “primary purpose rule”, a regulation to prevent bogus marriages being used to enter Britain, was scrapped.

Amnesty for thousands of immigrants, living illegally in Britain, was granted.

The seven-year restriction on immigrants from the eight countries that joined the EU in 2004 was ignored.

In addition, rules for granting student visas were relaxed in 1999, leading to a flood of bogus students registering at dubious colleges to gain permanent entry.

Mr Blair was recognised by other ministers and officials at the time as being not really interested on the question of immigration.

Our former prime minister should refrain from pontificating on this subject, because the position upon which he chooses at present to propose remedies is largely, although not exclusively, the result of policies introduced on his watch.

Who really wants to listen to him on any subject nowadays in any case, apart from a number of dictators throughout the world and wealthy Americans who happen to be at a loose end?

Ian W Thomson,

38 Kirkintilloch Road,

Lenzie.